Pushing boundaries and the summer of 2012
I'm currently sat in my girlfriends freezing bedroom huddled over my Mac with a cup of tea whilst sitting beneath a blue desk lamp wishing it were capable of kicking out some UV-A rays.
I naturally thought, time for some poignant nostalgic distraction'ism....
So in a bid to distract my mind from the cold and bleak winter I've opened a folder from my archive entitled 'summer 2012'. I've not really spoken to many people about my journey into film photography, so this is actually quite an opportune moment to discuss this and ponder my thoughts. For the next 30 minutes I'm going to transport my mind back to a slightly less informed and naive version of myself and maybe shed some more light on why I've taken this creative journey.
Initial thoughts of 2012; Everything was fresh, new, exciting. I had recently moved to London and I would be living in the nations capital during the 'Olympic Year'. There was a huge wave of enthusiasm oozing from almost everyone from all walks of life. This was the year we all got to shine and be whatever we wanted, success was in our hands, right!? Needless to say this was more than enough encouragement for me to start distracting my mind away from my mundane 9-5 office job and begin an exploration of my creativity. Photography was going to be my outlet once more and I would invest my time and money into this endeavour.
Much like I still am today, I was clueless about how to effectively explore this creative undertaking and become successful. Rather than treating photography like a business I just wanted to go with the flow and shoot whatever intrigued me. So I dusted off my Pentax K1000 and Zenit-E, purchased whatever film I could get my hands on, usually some Kodak stock from my local Poundland and began my journey into shooting on film. Remember, this was the infancy of Instagram and the 'Impossible Project' boom was yet to happen. Film was a huge novelty and to even think about shooting regularly on this format was quite challenging and the concept of being a 100% film shooter was still fairly novel.
And so sprung the summer. I remember it as being humid and very long. I was given almost the entirety of the Olympics as Holiday from my full time Account Management job. We were told this would be due to the poor transport links into the office and the fact Hammersmith was on a direct 'Games Route'. This seemed like BS and i'm fairly sure the Directors simply wanted to enjoy the events, I didn't really care and I certainly wasn't complaining. The chains were off and I was living in what seemed to be 'the centre of the world'. My days off were relaxed and soothing, long summer days wandering to new unexplored parts of the City on a daily basis were the new norm.
I realised during this time off from work and through my constant wanderings that I was most interested in photographing people. However, I lacked confidence in my ability and the concept of approaching strangers to snap portraits or even just talk to them was a scary prospect. But remember the mindset of this summer was all about pushing boundaries and excelling yourself. So I took all of this onboard and decided to venture to Finsbury Park. The place was bustling, there were dog walkers, picnic'ers, frisby'ers etc etc the Park was a cacophony of summer life in the City. Whilst walking around I kept seeing interesting shots but didn't have the courage to approach and capture anything and so I wrestled with my thoughts (i'm a massive over-thinker). Finally I found a quieter landscape within the Park.
The Basketball Courts were my safe-haven. I scanned across the concrete and found two boys having what looked to be the best time, full of laughter, energy and the smiles radiated across to me. I readied my camera (Zenit-E) and approached the boys, "excuse me guys, i'm a photographer and I would really like to take some photo's of you playing Basketball". Much to my surprise they were more than happy to accommodate me and allowed me to shoot with them. Before I knew it I was giving direction in terms of the shots I wanted to take and away we went. After an hour or so I had shot through my roll of film and that was a wrap!
In my haste I forgot to take note of the boys names but I just want to take the time now to say a belated thank you. Thank you to the summer of 2012, for time off work, for opportunities to explore and create, to the Basketball Boys and to the city of London.